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Research Finds More People Choose Green Energy When It Is The Default
New research has found that consumers are more likely to choose greener energy if it is the standard option, rather than available at a premium price.
A study published in Nature Human Behaviour found that having the default choice be a low carbon option increased demand by over 80 per cent, even if this electrical supply costs more than electricity from fossil fuels and other less environmentally friendly sources.
This suggests that the default effect, the tendency for people to choose the standard option available, could be used to substantially increase the adoption of green energy supplies.
The study looked at two Swiss suppliers of electricity, which offer electricity both from conventional fossil fuel sources and a renewable source package, which was available at an extra charge.
They decided to switch the order around and have the expensive green package be the default, with cheaper electricity available but a choice customers would have to explicitly ask for.
Before the change, 3 per cent and 1.2 per cent of households for each company opted for green electricity, but afterwards, the number skyrocketed to 85 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.
As well as this, the researchers did not find that the households which used green electricity used much more than they would have normally.
This allows for the use of more sustainable energy sources such as wind, hydroelectricity and biofuel to be used as power sources with a simple change boosting the amount used compared to fossil fuels.
This, along with initiatives to encourage plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars over standard petrol and diesel cars are part of a range of measures that can be taken to help fight climate change.
How Is Biofuel Sustainable?
Biofuel is currently one of the most promising sustainable energy sources on the market, primarily because it can be made from a wide range of different natural materials easily, and can be stored using a series of tanks with vacuum relief valves in the same way standard fuels can be.
There are many ways to create biofuels, but typically they are broken down into four generations of biofuel manufacture:
· First Generation – Sugar starch plants or edible oils are converted into bioethanol and biodiesel.
· Second Generation - Other non-food crops and the residual parts of crops used for biofuel are converted using a different method, typically breaking down the fibrous parts of the plant.
· Third Generation – Algae are converted into biofuels.
· Fourth Generation – Fuels made from light and heat converted into liquid chemicals.
The sustainability of biofuels depends on the energy used to create them and the net balance between the carbon dioxide absorbed by the plants and the fuel creation process and the carbon dioxide released when the fuel is created and used.
Plants absorb carbon dioxide when they respire, converting it to oxygen and starches, the latter of which is used along with oils and sugars to create many biofuels.